7 Ways to Decorate with Trays

Trays are indispensably useful for serving drinks and hors-d'oeuvres to guests, but that's certainly not all they are good for. You can also use a serving tray to add some extra style and functionality to just about any space. At west elm, we carry a variety of serving boards and trays in an array of styles and designs. Once you start trying out different ways to decorate with trays, you'll find they can be quite a versatile decor element in both modern and traditional style homes. To help you get started, here are seven ways to decorate with trays in different rooms and spaces around your home.

1. Living Room

Beyond serving, one of the most common uses for a tray is as a living room organizer/decor holder on the coffee table. You can use it to store items such as remotes and coasters so that you don't have to deal with constantly misplacing them. Decorative items such as candles and flowers can help dress the tray up and add a bit of extra style to your coffee table. For this purpose, you'll want to choose a tray that has sides so that that it keeps all of the items inside. A solid color wood tray is typically a good choice as well, as it will allow your decorative items to shine and won't create too much visual clutter on the coffee table.

Mirror Trays

2. Dining Room

Placing a decorative tray in the middle of your dining room table will allow you to keep items such as utensils, salt and pepper shakers and napkins close at hand. A tray is also a great place to set candles during dinner so that they are not easily knocked over and in anyone's way. For the dining room, you'll want to choose a slightly more elegant tray with metallic handles and perhaps a mirror or marble base. Because you will likely be carrying it back and forth from the kitchen, choosing a tray with sides is also a good idea.

3. Bathroom

A tray can serve as the ultimate bathroom organizing accessory. It will provide a place to keep your lotions, soaps, cleansers, toothpaste and all other bathroom essentials accessible and organized. Choose a size that can comfortably fit on the counter or on another available space in your bathroom, such as a shelf or a windowsill. A square tray that sits flush with a corner can save you even more space, while a circular tray can add an extra touch of style.

4. Kitchen

While trays are normally found in the kitchen, they are usually tucked away in the cupboards. Depending on the size of your kitchen, one or two expertly placed wood or marble trays can boost your cooking efficiency and your mood. Keep one near the stove and use it to hold cooking essentials such as salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar. If you ever need the counter space, then simply pick it up and set all of your essentials somewhere else in one easy motion. Your other tray can be more decorative in nature and used to hold a spice rack, some pots of your favorite herbs and a few decorative items.

5. Bedroom

Maximize the functionality of your bedside table with a small tray that takes up about a quarter to a third of the available surface space. Try to find one that matches the color and style of your bedside table or desk lamp, or go with a simple, solid color finish. A bedroom tray can be used to corral all of the items that might otherwise clutter up your bedside, such as glasses, remotes, photos, perfume, jewelry and the like. If the tray is large enough, you can even use it to hold the book you are currently reading.

6. Entryway

A tray can be an important part of helping you create a more organized and welcoming entryway. Set it down on a shelf near the door or on its very own small stool to create a handy container for keys and other small trinkets that are often left at the door. You'll never have to worry about misplacing your keys again! Having a small secondary tray for mail can also be a good idea.

7. Deck

If you often use your deck to entertain, then step up your game by setting a tray in the middle of your outdoor dining table, just as you would in your living room. Use it to hold cutlery and other dining essentials so that your guests never have to wonder where to look. During the warmer months, you can even keep some freshly picked flowers from your garden on it as well.

Reclaimed Wood Trays

Small accents and decor which also serve a functional purpose really help pull together the design of a room. A well-placed tray that matches the style of your room and holds some small trinkets and decorative items is all you need to add the finishing touch to any space.

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